A nation-wide initiative established at the height of the pandemic to encourage Australians to shop local has been extended another year.
Small Business Minister Stuart Robert announced the 12-month extension of the Go Local First campaign during a visit to a locally operated pharmacy in Woollahra, Sydney, on Tuesday morning.
Accompanied by Alexi Boyd and Mark McKenzie of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA), Minister Robert encouraged Australians to buy from small businesses in their communities.
The $8 million extension of Go Local First campaign was announced as part of the May 11 budget, adding to an initial $5 million that COSBOA received from the federal government to launch the initiative in July last year.
The campaign will be rolled out on outdoor, radio, TV, and digital advertising with a call to action to consumers to spend locally.
Alexi Boyd, interim chief executive of COSBOA, acknowledged the extension of the campaign in a statement, saying recovery from the pandemic will not be possible without small local businesses creating jobs for their local communities.
“We want to see Australians out there going local first by supporting their local grocers, butchers, and accountants … which in turn will allow them to employ locally and continue to be the fabric of their community,” Boyd said.
Research commissioned by COSBOA and conducted by the C|T Group found Australians have been buying more goods and services from local businesses since March last year, but restrictions have hampered the capacity for small businesses to hire more locals.
COSBOA chair Mark McKenzie said he was “absolutely thrilled” by the small business minister’s announcement.
“Australia’s 3.5 million small businesses are the heartbeat of their local communities and have been disproportionately affected by the COVID lockdowns,” McKenzie said.
“When these businesses thrive, their communities thrive and the national economy prospers.”
The extension of the campaign will run throughout 2021 and into next year, emphasising the important role small businesses play in the national economy.
It will build on the campaign’s past efforts to encourage Australian consumers to spend more at small businesses, both online and in person, as well as encourage small business owners to use other small businesses as suppliers.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Australian Lottery and Newsagents’ Association have re-signed on to the campaign as ambassadors, supporting the initiative on behalf of their members.
Trent Twomey, national president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, said community pharmacists have been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic, making sure locals have had access to the medical care they needed.
“But right now, they are still doing it tough, so we should be supporting them now more than ever or we risk them closing doors,” Twomey said.
“I would encourage all Australians to back this campaign and Go Local First next time you’re looking to buy something or need some advice.”
More information about the Go Local First campaign, including how businesses can get involved, is available here.